Apprentices and apprenticeship schemes are fast becoming the gateway for young people to enter the working world – enabling them to learn a trade whilst gaining valuable on-the-job experience and earning a wage.
Apprentices are a hot commodity – and before you start hiring them, here’s what you should know:
- 1,000 businesses are now involved in designing the new apprentice standards
- there are 1,500 different apprenticeships on offer in more than 170 industries
- the government invested £1.5bn in apprenticeships in 2013 to 2014
- businesses report an average increase in productivity by £214 a week when they hire apprentices
But just because other organisations are doing it, doesn’t mean that you should. We look at some of the main arguments for employing apprentices and suggest you ask these questions in your own business before investing in an apprentice recruitment strategy.
ARE WE LOOKING TO IMPROVE THE LEVEL OF COMMITMENT AMONGST OUR WORKFORCE?
Arguably, one of the biggest potential benefits of implementing apprenticeships is the opportunity to build increasing levels of commitment within your workforce. Most apprentices are young school or college leavers who have opted to kick-start their career in favour of university – meaning they are increasingly engaged with organisations who invest in their training and development.
Research by Populus, found that 80% of employers admit to hiring apprentices as a way to improve retention – suggesting that apprentices feel loyal to the company which invested in them.
ARE WE FACING A SKILLS SHORTAGE?
If you work in IT, Logistics, Construction or Care you might already be finding it tougher and tougher to recruit people with the skills you need to move your business forward.
Investing in an apprentice programme will not only allow you tackle this issue head on, but if managed correctly you will secure yourself a pipeline of skills long into the future. For example, NG Bailey have secured national awards for training more than 5,500 apprentices since 1932.
If on the other hand you are repeatedly looking for experienced hires, you may find that you are at the mercy of increasing salaries, recruitment costs and extended time to hire. Ultimately these bottlenecks could impact your ability to grow your business.
DO WE NEED FRESH IDEAS?
Apprentices may not have any actual workplace experience, but can offer a fresh perspective and new ideas – which should not be discounted as they are just as valuable to a growing business.
An article recently published by Recruiter highlights that apprentices contribute from the very beginning, due to a combination of attitude and innate digital ability. Businesses can then use this knowledge to build competitive advantage.
WILL AN APPRENTICE PROGRAMME IMPROVE OUR BOTTOM LINE?
The cost of funding an apprentice may put some employers off, but in reality, apprentices often pay for themselves within a few years and can improve a company’s bottom line by boosting productivity and creating more efficiency.
For example, the initial outlay of hiring an apprentice is often smaller than many companies think – thanks to Government funding and the fact that they are paid a reduced wage. A study by the UK Commission on Employment finds that 88% of employers feel apprenticeships are cost-effective way to train staff.
With the Government focused on seeing 3 million Apprentices in 2020, all employers will receive an allowance of £15,000 to offset costs against the Apprentice Levy – effectively, the levy will be paid by businesses earning in excess of £3 million per year.
Apprenticeships also make a contribution to the wider economy, with data from the National Audit Office showing that every £1 spent on Apprentices already pays back £18 to the economy. With so many short and long-term benefits to hiring an apprentice, maybe it’s time for you to hire one and realise the advantages for your own company.